Is the beloved paper dictionary doomed to extinction? In this infectiously exuberant talk, leading lexicographer Erin McKean looks at the many ways today's print dictionary is poised for transformation. As the CEO and co-founder of new online dictionary Wordnik, Erin McKean is reshaping not just dictionaries, but how we interact with language itself.
“You’re a fishmonger!” By taking a closer look at Shakespeare’s words--specifically his insults--we see why he is known as a master playwright whose works transcend time and appeal to audiences all over the world.
But dressing up a piece of prose with thesaurus-words tends not to work well. And here’s why: a thesaurus suggests words without explaining nuances of meaning and levels of diction. So if you choose substitute-words from a thesaurus, it’s likely that your writing will look as though you’ve done just that. The thesaurus-words are likely to look odd and awkward, or as a writer relying on Microsoft Word’s thesaurus might put it, “extraordinary and uncoordinated.” When I see that sort of strange diction in a student’s writing and ask whether a thesaurus is involved, the answer, always, is yes.
A cleverly designed site that writers from approximately 7-11 years old work with to create or embellish mostly "scary" stories. Lots of writing prompts and instruction on the elements of storytelling. -JL
The wordsmith and cultural historian debunks common myths about English, recommends the smartest writing about words, and says apostrophes are “orthographic squiggles” not worth fighting for...
Henry Hitchings is an author, reviewer and critic. He specialises in language and cultural history. The second of his four books, The Secret Life of Words, won the 2008 John Llewellyn Rhys Prize, and in 2009 he received a Somerset Maugham Award. In 2011, his latest book The Language Wars was published and he presented the BBC documentary Birth of the British Novel. Since 2009, he has been the theatre critic of the London Evening Standard
Writing Traits: Teaching the Skills of Word Choice teacher-created resources and lessons...all focused on skills that make up the word choice trait
The trait of word choice is a complex trait that should be discussed, explored, and further developed every year that students learn to write in school; both kindergartners and high school seniors can be taught to think about developmentally appropriate skills that are associated with word choice. This page contains word choice lessons and resources that we consider appropriate for sharing with third graders and up. If you are working with primary writers and the six traits, be sure to visit WritingFix's 6 Traits and Primary Writing Homepage.
Bury overused phrases and dead words? Prune the deadwood! Show don't tell!
A classic classroom word choice exercise is to 'bury dead words'. I used to do this at Halloween, creating a tombstone bulletin board where we'd nail up all those useless, deflated, overused, words that make writing flat and colorless.
Shortly before one of my first digital poetry readings/talks at the University of Maryland, I was asked, during a pre-dinner, to describe how I generated ideas for my digital poems. Initially, I stormed into a discussion about not being satisfied with the limitations of print, and the need to find a format that satiated a curious and scattered mind. And while those points are entirely valid and contribute to my creative process/direction, they didn’t really answer the question of where the kernel, the initial spark for each digital poem lives. I stumbled through half-jokes and comments about the food and weather, until someone across from me said they loved my interfaces. At the time I hadn’t really, formally, considered the idea of an interface, the notion that digital poems have an engine, an architecture that structurally, thematically, cultural surrounds the poem, holds the poem, shelters and nurtures and indeed conceives (procreation digitally) the poem.
Long, fancy words designed to show off your intelligence and vocabulary are all very well, but they aren't always the best words. In this short, playful video Terin Izil explains why simple, punchy language is often the clearest way to convey a message.
"This lesson plan is focused on the art of writing memorable sentences, and how descriptive language has been found to stimulate cognitive function. The writers of this blog post say students first should study their favorite sentences, discussing the qualities that make them great. They should then work in groups to paraphrase the sentences, comparing their new creations to the originals and discussing their own cognitive responses to each."
Like other dictionaries, the Dictionary of American Regional English (DARE) is arranged alphabetically by headword, from A to Z.
What is different about DARE is that it shows where people use the words that are included. We all know, for example, that Americans have many names for the kind of sandwich that includes meats, cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, etc., served in a long bun.
What DARE can tell you (and can often illustrate through the use of maps based on fieldwork) is where the words hero, hoagie, grinder, sub, torpedo, Cuban, etc. are the local terms for this sandwich. It can also tell you where people use the words darning needle, ear cutter, eye stitcher, mosquito (or skeeter) hawk, sewing needle, snake doctor, or snake feeder (among other terms) for a dragonfly.
Learn how to teach and assess writing more effectively and help students understand the 6-Traits of good writing (voice, ideas, word choice, organization, sentence fluency & conventions). Explore strategies to enable learners to progress through higher standards and improve test scores. Participants get extensive hands-on practice assessing a variety of student samples using the 6-Traits rubric.
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